Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thoughts on my Defense

The defense is old news now, but I have been wanting to write about the event (more for myself than anything else). It's kind of long, but here it is:

On the morning of my defense I got up early and drove into Lexington for the serenity of early morning Panera. After planting myself in the far corner of the restaurant I opened my computer and finished a newsletter article that my sister had proofed for me (thanks, Georgia). I emailed it to Carla. The article was only four days late.

I shutdown the computer, lifted my dissertation out of my backpack and opened it yet again. I thought it wise to re-read chapters four and five because I figured they would be the source of most of my questions.

I wish I could convey the agony of re-reading something you’ve re-read and re-written so many times. My brain doesn’t really read it. My brain just sits there, arms folded, lips pouting, asking me why I am doing this again. I say, “Come on, just one more time.” But my brain knows we won’t be reading it just one more time. We’ll have changes. We’ll have to proof those changes. We’ll have to print those changes out again. Then we’ll submit those changes for further changes. The loop feels eternal.

While I was re-re-re-reading the dissertation I looked up and saw Dr. Pasquarello on the other side of the restaurant. Doc was sitting at a table reading. I felt honor bound to walk over to his table and cultivate as much goodwill as I could before the defense.

“Hello, Dr. Pasquarello,” I said as I approached his table. He looked up from the newspaper and smiled. “Well, hello.” he was a little surprised. “I’ve read the dissertation already, I promise.” He said, seeming sheepish about reading the sports section before the defense.

“Well …it might be better for me if you hadn’t read it.” I said.

Don’t worry, dear reader, I know I’m a dork at this point. But what does one say? “I’m glad you read it already?” “Why aren’t you wearing a tie?” “Can we possibly work the word ‘trinity’ into THIS conversation, too?” None of those comebacks work either. I said the right thing, no matter how goofy it was.

By 9 a.m. I was back in Wilmore, standing outside BC-116 in the Beeson Center, be-suited, and carrying that same darn dissertation binder.

My mentor, Dr. Lowe, greeted me and said, “Hey man, just like last time. You sit out here while we talk about you. Then we’ll call you in.”

I didn’t feel like sitting in the foyer. I figured I would be sitting for the next hour and a half at least. So I stood and flipped through the dissertation for a little bit, until my brain said, “Seriously, man?! You just told me we would only do it one more time. Let. It. Go.” So I let it go. I set the dissertation down and glanced around the tiny foyer.

My eyes settled on a brochure for the temporarily disbanded Beeson Pastor Program. I opened the brochure to see three or four of my classmates smiling back at me. I tried not to feel diminished by not being good looking enough to be a Beeson Pastor poster boy.

Soon Dr. Tumblin walked through the foyer. He’s the new Grand Poobah of the D.Min. area at Asbury. I don’t know a lot about him, but he seems great for the job. The D.Min. program at Asbury should flourish under his direction. He stopped and chatted with me, recognizing that a guy in a suit, holding a big, white binder can only mean one thing.

“They don’t let you get this far if you aren’t ready. You’ll do fine,” he said, full of reassurance.

I had heard that one before and I believed it to be true; but I also knew that there are exceptions to every rule. One needn’t assume that there is no conceivable way to fail to defend a dissertation. I presume that every now and again someone has to be sacrificed to keep a scare in the remaining students.

Tired of standing, I sat down in the foyer and checked my email on my iPhone, which is silly because if the email was at all important I couldn’t do anything about it anyway. I was just killing time. I checked facebook. I checked twitter. I sighed. I looked around.

Then the moment arrived. I walked into the room with my three committee members greeting me with smiles and handshakes. We talked about the dissertation. They asked me questions. They told me some of the things they wanted me to add. We laughed about some things. Then we stood up and Dr. Lowe shook my hand and said “Congratulations, Doctor.”

I would write more about the actual defense, but it’s a bit of a blur; somewhat anti-climatic (which is how I prefer it). I exited the premises, left a message on Cindy’s phone, and updated my facebook status to proclaim to the facebook world that I had passed the defense.

After that I went back to my room, opened up the computer, and worked on the additions/changes until 10pm.

That’s it!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Favorite

I'm still planning on blogging about the defense hearing, but I haven't had time to do it right.

Meanwhile, I've been catching bits and pieces of performances by Jeanne Robertson. She's very funny. I'm hoping to buy one of her CDs when I get around to it. Here's a sample:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun News!

Our youngest daughter, Cora, was chosen as Student of the Week for the local news station, WJHL. We were all very excited to see her on the news. Special thanks to Greg Wallace and Principal Stover to choosing her.

If you want to see the news clip, just follow this link.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good news!

Yesterday's dissertation defense went very well. I would love to blog more about it, but I'm making the requested changes before I leave for home and time is short.

Now all things needing to be done before graduation are just details ... the journey nears its completion.

Thanks for all of your prayers. I appreciate them more than I can say.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two 4 Two Season Finale'

The end of Spring Two 4 Two has arrived. It was a good ten weeks, thanks to all of the volunteers who make Two 4 Two possible. These are pictures from previous weeks .

Matteus, Brook, and Claire.

Anna, Kara, and friend.

Thanks, Sam, for all of your hard work on the pictures and slideshows.

Ethan and Jim helped, too. Thanks for running the projection booth.

And now, the last slideshow .... we'll be backkkkkkk

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Quick Break for Blogging

Good Saturday morning to you all. I hope this Holy Week has meaningful for you. I confess that it has not been particularly meaningful for me this year. I spent the first part of the week trying to get as much work done as possible. The past day or two have been devoted entirely to completing my dissertation edits. The editing consists of me sitting in a small room, on a hard chair, trying to figure out how to rid sentences of passive voice and intransitive verbs. I also have to figure out how to make the tables look right (Microsoft Word seems to have a mind of its own). I'm not complaining about computers, by the way. I cannot imagine writing a dissertation without computers. Still, I can think of better ways to prepare for Easter morning.

After I post this entry I will get back to work on tomorrow's sermon, then I will pick up the copies of my dissertation, assemble them, give them to my friend Robbie Phillips for delivery to the DMin office on Monday morning, and then I'll drive the 4 1/2 hours home.

I'm looking forward to Easter at Grandview and if you're anywhere near Johnson City we hope to see you there.

Meanwhile, here's the slideshow from Two4Two this week. I promised to get it up on the blog ... sorry it's late.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Two4Two: April 1st, 2009

Here is the slideshow from tonight's Two 4 Two ... we only have two more left in this semester. Enjoy.

At Long Last

We finally have our new Grandview website up and running. Those things take a lot of work!

The new site will allow us to give regular updates of news and upcoming events. Also, the most recent sermons will be accessible on the site.

Hope you enjoy it.